4. Presidential Review Memorandum/NSC 211


  • The Vice President
  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense


  • The United States Representative to the United Nations
  • The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • The Director of Central Intelligence


  • The Horn of Africa (U)

The President has directed that the Policy Review Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Department of State, undertake a review of U.S. policy toward the Horn of Africa with reference to Kenya and the Sudan. Issues of immediate concern that should be specifically addressed include:

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—Whether to continue, reduce or suspend U.S. military and economic aid programs in Ethiopia and the likely consequences of such actions.

—How and when to terminate U.S. utilization of Kagnew Station.2

—The implications of independence of the TFAI and steps that might be taken to avert a Somali-Ethiopian clash.

—The implications of a closer U.S. involvement with the Sudan.

—Prospects for loosening Somalia’s ties with the Soviet Union.

Related problems which should be assessed include:

—The consequences of increased Soviet, East European and Cuban support for the Ethiopian military government.

—Prospects of the principal Ethiopian opposition groups: the Eritrean movements, the EPRP, the Ethiopian Democratic Union.

—The implications and effect of Libyan and Israeli involvements in Ethiopia; of Libyan subversion in the Sudan.

—The effects of developments in the Horn on post-Kenyatta Kenya, and in particular on Kenya’s relations with the United States.

—The relationship of all these questions to the problem of keeping the Red Sea route open and to U.S. interests in the Indian Ocean.

The study should review and take into account separate analyses of some of these problems which have been done over recent months. It should interrelate these issues and attempt to identify U.S. interests in the whole Horn-Red Sea area, examining the impact of our actions in each country as they affect the others. In conclusion the study should clarify the choices for action (or non-action) open to us and their likely consequences, e.g.:

—Would withdrawal of our support for the present Ethiopian government cause it to fall?

—Is the Sudan sufficiently stable to merit a major commitment on our part to support it?

—Which are the best strategies for dealing with the Soviets in this region? If they have to choose between Ethiopia and Somalia, which will they choose?

—Should we consider efforts in Kenya to forestall Ethiopian-type deterioration after Kenyatta dies?

—What outside forces should we encourage to play a positive role in the area: OAU/Other Africans? Saudis? Europeans? China? Israel? France? Others?

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The review should be no more than 25 pages in length.3 It should be completed by 5 April for PRC review.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files 1977–1981, Box 2, PRM/NSC 1–24 [1]. Secret.
  2. For more on Kagnew Station, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–6, Documents on Africa, 1973–1976, Documents 77, 86, 9195, 125, 132, 147, 148, 150, 154, and 156.
  3. See Document 10.